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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

I have so much to tell you!  Finding time to post is proving to be quite a challenge; my days are so full!  There is so much I want to do with my students and so little time to do it.  I've become a "Time Miser" counting every minute of every day.

I've decided to keep track of where we lose time in our day.  We have three recesses per day, and it takes my students, on average (I've been timing them), 11 minutes to come in from recess, settle down, and be ready for work.  Every time we transition from one subject to another, (example from French to Music), we take about 6 minutes to settle down.  I find timing my students, and telling them about how much time we are losing is helping.  They constantly want to "beat" their previous time.  It works especially well if I give my iPad to one of them, and ask them to time the class.

I have found that asking my students to calculate how much time we will lose over the course of the year if we continue to take so much time transitioning has proven to be an "authentic" problem solving task.

To "catch up" on lost time, I've been keeping students in at recess and after school.  Here in Ontario, it is extra challenging to be a Grade Six or Three teacher because in the beginning of June we have EQAO testing.  I am a staunch supporter of the test because I feel it provides invaluable insight into where we are weak and where we are strong as an educational system, but it also means that we have 10 months of curriculum to teach in 9 months; so the pressure is on, AND I CAN'T AFFORD ANY WASTED TIME!

The temptation is to skimp on the Arts or Phys Ed., the subjects that are not tested.  But in my opinion, the Arts and Phys Ed are just too important in helping to develop well-rounded cultured individuals who will be valuable contributors to our society.

I took my students to an Art Gallery earlier in the month.  They LOVED it!  They didn't waste a minute of time there!  It turns out they can listen attentively when the subject matter is of interest to them.  They hung on every word our tour guide said and proved to have plenty to say about the artwork they viewed.

I am hoping to take advantage of this keen interest in Art, I'm going to post their art on a Voicethread account where they can go online and discuss the Art that they and others have created.  As much as possible, I will link the Arts to our Language so that I can develop their Literacy skills through the things they are interested in and passionate about.

Here are two of our latest artistic creations, one focuses on the use of shape, the other on the use of line.

We had so much fun collecting leaves for these pictures!  Thank you Helena for  showing me the artwork you did with your students so that I could copy your idea!!!

Helena had shown me this art, but I felt we were too behind in our Math Curriculum to be able to do it.  But then she told me that the entire activity took one hour, collecting the leaves, creating the art piece, gluing it on the paper.  And she was right!  One hour for such lovely creations!  It was an hour very well-spent!

I got the idea for these water-colour paintings from Pinterest.  The students use  white glue to draw their lines.  We left the glue to harden over night, then traced the lines with a sharpie the next morning.  (Our librarian came in and read a story to them while they traced their lines).  Then I took six kids at a time to give them some "Guided Instruction" on how to create a wash with water-colour paints while the other students worked on a writing piece or read quietly at their desks. It's easier to teach them how to shade, mix colours, and use brush strokes when working with only six students at a time. 


  1. Wow! Love the art work!!!

    1. Thanks, it is amazing what these kids can do! So many of them are truly creative.


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